Core Research Facilities

SF BUILD Scholars begin their training by participating in summer research rotations at SF State and UCSF. ​Through these rotations they are exposed to community-engaged, trans-disciplinary research that is supported by resources available in the Health & Equity Research (HER) lab. Following the rotations, SF BUILD Scholars are accepted into labs at either SF State or UCSF to conduct independent research projects for the remainder of the two-year program. During this time the HER lab remains available ​to SF BUILD Scholars, and cultivates collaborations with researchers at SF State, UCSF and local communit​y-based organizations. ​

Prior funding from the SF BUILD project led to creation of the SOUL facility, which also remains available for collaboration with members of the SF State, UCSF, and local communities.

Health Equity Research (HER) Lab

Dr. Leticia Márquez-Magaña, Lab Director, and Rebecca Mendez, Lab Manager

  • Overview: The HER Lab is a state-of-the-art facility that uses biomedical tools and techniques to address health disparities. Lab members collect and process saliva, blood, and hair (i.e., human biospecimens) to generate data aimed at discovering how diseases are caused or worsened by social environmental conditions that are disproportionately experienced by underserved communities. Methods, including ELISA and quantitative PCR, are used to measure biological and environmental markers like cortisol, oxytocin, lead, and telomere length in the collected biospecimens. The lab also looks at how interventions may help reduce and prevent disease. All findings are shared with the communities from which the biospecimens and intervention data were collected, and are used in efforts to reduce local health disparities.
  • Scholars: The HER Lab offers SF BUILD Scholars the opportunity to “give back” by conducting hands-on research on questions relevant to local underserved communities. Lab members work with SF BUILD Scholars to increase their knowledge of ethical laboratory practices, how to collect and analyze biospecimens using culturally sensitive approaches, community-engaged, trans-disciplinary approaches to formulating and addressing research questions, and how to share research findings for the greatest benefit to community health. 
  • Collaborators: The HER Lab is available to the SF State community, as well as local community partners looking to investigate biomedical questions relevant to health disparities. The lab’s mission is to work with communities to bring about health equity.